Someone once said, "Don't buy food, buy ingredients."
They were talking about health, but it works even better as your slogan for budgeting. If you make a promise to yourself that you're never going to pay someone for mixing, you save a ton. Just one example: instant oatmeal. Even a generic store brand is going to be $1.50 for a 10-packet box. But generic quick-cooking plain oats are $1.50 for a 24-oz canister. Add sweetener and spices and maybe some dried fruit, and it's still half the price, plus you will undoubtedly put in less sugar and WAY less salt than the manufacturer does. (It takes the same amount of time and work to cook the quick oats as it does to boil water for instant.) Oatmeal is even cheaper if you get it in the bulk barrels-- One store near me (Sprouts, if you have them near you) regularly has it on sale for 50 cents a pound.
As for produce, buy what's on sale. What's cheapest is also what's freshest because they put things on sale when they have too much. Get the store sale flyers for two or three stores in your neighborhood, see what's on sale, and look up recipes before you shop to make sure that you'll have all the ingredients.
And that brings us to the most important thing: don't waste food/money. Never buy anything unless and until you have decided when and how you're going to use it. That great price on canned salmon is no bargain if it sits on your shelf for two years because you don't know what to do with it and you're not sure you really like it. Also, keep a list of what's in your pantry so you don't buy what you already have. (Someone on SP recently mentioned cleaning her mom's kitchen and finding seven jars of pumpkin pie spice, mostly unopened. You KNOW mom bought those because she had a recipe that called for it and forgot she already had some.) And of course, planning your meals ahead of time is also a great way to control weight and eat healthier.
Healthy eating and saving money are actually two sides of the same coin. Most of what you do to achieve one will automatically help with the other.
| current weight: 132.0